Elaine Hays

Elaine Hays

Elaine Hays

Running for: Amarillo City Council Place 1

How she voted in the November 2016 city bond election: Yes for proposition 6 (Civic Center), no to the rest

What are your major campaign points and how do you plan to make them happen?

My main priority has to do with fiscal responsibility. As a certified financial planner, it concerned me when we had bond proposals that were presented that were seven very diversified and widespread. It reminded me of a client that comes to my office and says 'I would like to save for retirement, I need to remodel the kitchen, I have three kids to put through college, and I want to do them all this year.' The reality is that you can't do all those at one time, so you have to prioritize. And it's the same with city government. We have to be very strategic and make sure we are prioritizing our greatest needs first.

Do you think the city should continue to issue bonds to fund future projects, or just use money allocated in the annual budget?

Well it's kind of a combination. For the size of our city and our general revenue, we do not have an excessive amount of debt. We have I believe around 8.8% right now. So it's not extreme. I don't mind borrowing for large projects. My husband and I personally are debt free at a personal level, but business debt and community debt are different things, so that does not concern. I want to be sure that we do have enough cash flow to be able to fund those over time. But a lot of the things in this last proposal, we were borrowing money or potentially borrowing money for things that should be covered in just your annual operating budget. It was the same comparison of I don't mind borrowing money for a car, but I don't want to borrow money for the gas to put in it, and that is what we were beginning to do as a city.

Do you think the city should have a role in economic development, or should that task fall solely on the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation?

I would like to see a unified front between the Chamber of Commerce, the city council, the AEDC, the visitors and traveler's convention community of actually all getting on the same page. Having a unified front of, what is our message? How are we going to ourselves? And definitely I would not leave that just to the AEDC. I think the city council needs to play a very strategic role in that and be a part in defining the message and then delivering the message.

What letter grade would you give to the current city council and why?

It is challenging when you're the one sitting at the table. I would not want someone to be giving me a letter grade necessarily. But I would say that if I was pleased with the outcome and the manner of the decisions that have been made, I wouldn't be running. One of my concerns besides the fiscal issues is just the lack of civility. And we actually have a code of conduct for our city council that requires members that once a decision is made, you unify behind that. So I am all for open discussion, really hashing through the pros and cons in a civil and respectful manner. But once a decision is made, we need to pull together as a unified team and step out and lead and not continue the division.

What do you think you would bring to the city council that's not there right now?

I believe the fiscal responsibility. People are beginning this election cycle to discuss a lot of our financial issues and the fiscal responsibility. But this has been my world. This is my profession. This is what I studied educationally. It is what I have lived every day. I have worked with individuals and companies of setting those goals, figuring out what your target is; where you're headed, and then the steps you need to get there, and the reality of the world of the finances that you have. So I believe I bring a unique perspective to the council.

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